Wednesday newsletters always feature a luxury hotel and/or flight review.
Today (December 30, 2015): Review of The Rosewood London (UK).
Last month, I spent a weekend at the Rosewood London, currently the finest five-star hotel in the UK capital, with my best friend to celebrate her 40th anniversary. And I although had great expectations because of my terrific stay at their amazing sister property in the Chinese capital – The Rosewood Beijing – earlier this year, the Rosewood London still wowed me in a way that only few hotels do. Words cannot describe how tremendously impressed I was by the design, setting, suite and food. Blending English heritage with contemporary sophistication, the palatial building that houses the hotel has been sensitively renovated to create an ultra-luxurious hotel with the ambience of a stylish London residence.
The Rosewood London features in my top 10 lists of the most amazing city hotels in Europe and the most luxurious hotels in London, as well as in my list of the best new luxury hotels of 2013.
In this review (more info below my Youtube clip & slideshow):
- Pros & things I like
- Cons & things to know
- My verdict
- Tips for future guests & save money
- Best time to visit
- How to get there
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PROS & THINGS I LIKE
- Rosewood London is the first European property of the Dallas based Rosewood Hotels & Resorts Group. One of the world’s most exclusive, ultraluxurious hotel brands, Rosewood also recently took over a Tuscany resort, and a will debut hotels in Paris and Edingburgh in the near future. With their London outpost, the ultraluxury hotel chain has taken contemporary sophistication to new heights in the UK capital.
- The hotel enjoys a terrific location in one of the city’s most historic and lively thoroughfares, High Holborn, just steps from Covent Garden. You do not need to venture far for dining and entertainment, as the Rosewood is close to plenty of restaurants, bars and the West End theatres. The City and capital’s major tourist attractions are not far either, making it is an ideal base for both business and sightseeing.
- The Rosewood London is housed in a flamboyant and sensitively renovated Edwardian mansion. Designed by Percy Monckton and completed in 1914, the building used to be the headquarters for the Pearl Assurance Company. The subsequent transformation of this historic building from Imperial-era offices into a London luxury hotel was carried out under the guidance of English Heritage, with preservation of the building’s significant heritage features such as the principal facades, the interiors of the former East and West Banking Halls (now Holborn Dining Room and the Bar, respectively) and the grand staircase.
- Arrival at the hotel is quite stunning: the magnificent street frontage, which is the hotel’s main entrance, features a central carriageway entrance with iron gates and dome leading into a grand Edwardian courtyard. The latter provides a little oasis of tranquillity away from the bustle of the city that is unique among London luxury hotels.
- Every Sunday, rain or shine, the courtyard hosts a food & living market, which recreates the traditional marketplace shopping experience in Holborn and features products from local growers and artisans. This is yet another unique and lovely feature among London luxury hotels!
- A dramatic corridor, designated the rose bronze gallery, connects the courtyard to the hotel lobby. The lobby itself is rich and luxurious in every detail, comprising black and white marble mosaic flooring, gilded eglomise glass partitions filled to the brim with quirky art and books, stunning oak armoires and a parchment reception desk. The centre wall features a painting by world-renowned Chilean artist, Eduardo Hoffmann, displaying the rolling countryside surrounding an English country estate.
- To get you to the higher floors of the property, where you find the rooms and suites, you can take the elevators, or, alternatively, you can make your way up the amazing Italian Grand Pavonazzo marble staircase, located beneath the hotel’s iconic dome cupola.
- The 262 rooms and 44 suites are among the largest accommodations in London and reflect the style of a British mansion rather than a hotel. I had booked the lowest room category (which is still amazing), but because of the special occasion (my friend’s anniversary), we were upgraded to an amazing Premier Suite. The very spacious suite comprised a hallway, two restrooms, an expansive living room, an airy bedroom and a pampering bathroom in Italian marble with silver finishes. Materials in the suite included lacquer, textured wood veneers and prismatic mirrors. The minibar in the suite was well stocked, with complimentary snacks and non-alcoholic beverages.
- Rosewood London’s Sense Spa is located on the lower ground floor of the property. The spa features bamboo walls, soft lighting and wooden walkways over rippling water and pebble stones, providing a restorative hideaway in the heart of London. Facilities include seven treatment rooms (one of which is an exclusive couple’s suite), dry heat saunas, amethyst crystal steam rooms and a shimmering gold leaf and teak relaxation lounge.
- The hotel has two excellent restaurants, both of them featuring creative, well executed, and refined food, albeit in a somewhat different setting. The Holborn Dining Room, with its oak furnishings, antique mirrors and opulent red leather upholstery, is a bustling brasserie with a menu of British dishes with a twist. The exquisitely designed and more formal Mirror Room, features decorative mirrors, low lighting, fresh flowers everywhere, and lounge seating, and offers fine-dining cuisine in the evening and a sumptuous breakfast in the morning.
- If you stay at the hotel in the weekend, be sure not to miss the grandiose Sunday brunch at the Mirror Room, which must have been the most spectacular and best tasting brunch that I ever had during my extensive travels around the world. Ingredients are carefully selected from the slow food & living market held in the hotel’s courtyard, and honour the slow food & living principals of sustainable, local, organic and wholesome produce. There are several main courses to choose from, in addition to 6 different food stations serving everything from charcuterie and smoked fish, to cheese, breads, salads, yoghurts, juices, Perrier-Jouet champagne, a vast array of desserts, and even a chocolate fountain.
- The hotel’s house bar, Scarfes Bar, evokes a convivial atmosphere with a roaring fire at one end and wooden bar running along the other end. Inspired by the atmosphere of a drawing room and the sophistication of a gentleman’s club, it t features a collection of cosy velvet armchairs and shelves filled with antique books.
- The staff provides impeccable service with a friendly, welcoming smile, as you would expect from a luxury hotel of this caliber. I also loved the smart, English uniforms for all of the personnel!
CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
Rosewood London’s exterior, interior, and guestrooms all capture and celebrate the historic character and grandeur of this landmark building and represent the ultimate London hotel experience. I cannot imagine that anyone would not like this ultraluxurious hotel and I highly recommend it. You need to know though the following issues when considering a stay at the Rosewood London:
- With £60 per person, the brunch is pricey, but when you consider the scale of the brunch and the overall experience, it’s undoubtedly value for money and a brilliant setting for a special occasion.
- In addition to brunch being pricey, I was not correctly informed about the extra charge for the brunch when you are booked into the hotel on a bed&breakfast base. I was told it was £10 extra per person by the restaurant staff, but at check-out, it turned out to be £30 extra per person.
- I found the noise of the airconditiong system in the room to be uncomfortably loud from time to time. While it did not bother me to fall asleep, I can imagine that it would be more troublesome for a light sleeper. You can switch off the system though.
- Because of its popularity, the hotel spa tends to be fully booked days in advance, so make sure to prebook your spa treatment to avoid disappointment.
- Despite its ultraluxurious setting and style, the hotel lacks a swimming pool.
- Location: 9/10
- Design: 10/10
- Food: 10/10
- Service: 9/10
- Overall experience: exceptional: 9,6/10
TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
- Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like The Rosewood London. Book a room at the cheapest price and/or receive many free perks!
- Save money: Enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtusoso (e.g. upgrade on arrival, daily English Breakfast, $100 USD hotel credit, early check-in, and late check-out).
- Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.
BEST TIME TO VISIT LONDON
The best time to visit London is in the spring, when the temperatures are mild and the city’s parks are green and blooming. However, spring – along with summer – is also prime tourist season, and hotel and flight prices reflect the surge. You’re more likely to find airfare and accommodation deals in the fall and winter, though you’ll also encounter chilly temperatures. And no matter when you travel, you should pack an umbrella: “Foggy Londontown” experiences misty days and showers throughout the year.
HOW TO GET THERE
London can easily be reached by plane, train or car. For those coming by plane, the city is served by 6 airports:
- Heathrow (LHR) is the primary international airport serving London. Check the Wikipedia page of Heathrow Airport for the lasted updates on airlines that have direct flights to this airport. It’s a 40 minute drive to the hotel.
- Gatwick (LGW) is London’s second busiest airport. Check the Wikipedia page of Gatwick Airport for the lasted updates on airlines that have direct flights to this airport. It’s a one hour drive to the hotel.
- Stansted (STN) is a base for a number of major European low-cost carriers, being the largest base for low-cost airline Ryanair with over 100 destinations served by the airline. Check the Wikipedia page of Stansted Airport for the lasted updates on airlines that have direct flights to this airport.
- Luton (LTN) is the fourth-largest airport serving the London area. Check the Wikipedia page of Luton Airport for the lasted updates on airlines that have direct flights to this airport.
- London City Airport (LCY) is fifth busiest airport in passengers and aircraft movements serving the London area, and primarily caters to business travelers. Check the Wikipedia page of London City Airport for the lasted updates on airlines that have direct flights to this airport.
- London Southend Airport (SEN) is the British capital’s smallest airport. Check the Wikipedia page of London Southend Airport for the lasted updates on airlines that have direct flights to this airport.
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